Black-a-Tor Copse National Nature Reserve
Black-a-Tor Copse NNR, above the valley of the West Okement River, is an area of oak woodland, granite clitter (loose rocks) and moorland 1,200ft above sea level. It is one of only three examples of Devon’s high altitude oak woodlands, and one of the best in Britain for its nationally important rare lichens and mosses that wreathe the trees and rocks. Twenty species of breeding birds have been recorded in the woodland and surrounding habitat, including summer visitors such as the ring ouzel and redstart. The woodland is lightly grazed by the cattle, sheep and ponies that live on the open moorland, and they help sustain the open character and abundant lichens and mosses of the woodland. The moorland is also periodically burnt in an ancient practice known as ‘swaling’. This provides patches of more palatable grass for livestock in spring and reduces the spread of gorse and young trees.
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About The area
With magnificent coastlines, two historic cities and the world-famous Dartmoor National Park, Devon sums up all that is best about the British landscape. For centuries it has been a fashionable and much loved holiday destination – especially south Devon’s glorious English Riviera.
Close to the English Riviera lies Dartmoor, one of the south-west’s most spectacular landscapes. The National Park, which contains Dartmoor, covers 365 square miles and includes many fascinating geological features – isolated granite tors and two summits exceeding 2,000 feet among them.
Not surprisingly, in Dartmoor the walking opportunities are enormous. Cycling in the two National Parks is also extremely popular and there is a good choice of off-road routes taking you to the heart of Dartmoor and Exmoor. Devon’s towns and cities offer stimulating alternatives to the rigours of the countryside.
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